Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) released the earnings results from its most recently completed quarter this morning, posting earnings per share of $1.21 on revenue of $1.57 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.08 per share on $1.53 billion in revenue. In the same quarter a year ago, the company posted $1.57 billion in revenue. Earnings per share rose 22.2% year over year.

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The motorcycle brand guided for operating margins of between 17.5% and 18.5% for the full fiscal year. Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) expects to see a 7% to 9% increase in worldwide shipments this year.

Breaking down Harley-Davidson’s results

Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) management cited higher retail motorcycle sales and cost cuts as the main drivers for the company’s first quarter earnings beat. The company reported a 7.3% increase in shipments, “strong” improvement in margins and “solid” growth in new motorcycle sales through dealers.

According to this morning’s release, dealers around the globe sold 57,415 new Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) motorcycles during the first quarter. That’s a slight increase from last year’s 54,254. U.S. dealers sold 35,730 motorcycles, a 3% increase year over year. International dealers sold 21,685 motorcycles, a 10.9% increase.

Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG)’s motorcycle revenue increased 13.1%, rising to $1.31 billion. The company shipped more than 80,000 new motorcycles to dealers, which is in line with guidance. Revenue from parts and accessories was $198.1 million, a 7.7% increase. Revenue from “general merchandise,” which includes MotorClothes apparel and accessories, was $64.1 million, an 11.1% decline year over year.

First quarter gross margins were 37.7%, while operating margins from motorcycles and related products were 22.1%. Both of those percentages increased year over year.

Harley-Davidson looks to expand

Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) reported that this is the sixth year in a row that it was the top seller of new on-road motorcycles in the U.S., both in 601cc-plus and “across all displacements,” to adults in the 18 to 34 demographic, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, and Caucasian men in their core 35 and up demographic.

“Together with our dealers, we continued to expand the appeal of our products and the Harley-Davidson experience,” said Keith Wandell, president, chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG), in a statement. “Harley-Davidson dealers sold more than four times as many new, on-road motorcycles, 601cc and up, to U.S. young adults last year, and among riders age 35-plus, more than nine times as many to women, more than six times as many to African Americans and more than seven times as many to Hispanics, as the nearest competitor.”

The company reported a 20.5% increase in the Asia Pacific area, 8.2% increase in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and an 8.9% increase in Latin America. Sales fell 2.4% in Canada.

Harley-Davidson guides for 2014

Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) expects to ship between 279,000 and 284,000 motorcycles to dealers this year, which is an increase of between 7% and 9%. During the second quarter, the company projects shipments of between 92,000 and 97,000, which is an increase from last year’s shipments of 84,606. The company projects operating margins of between 17.5% and 18.5% in its motorcycles division and between $215 million and $235 million in capital expenditures.

During the first quarter, Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) repurchased 1.2 million common shares for $76.6 million. At the end of the first quarter, there were about 220.5 million outstanding weighted-average diluted common shares and 28.1 million shares remaining in approved share buyback authorizations.